Learning drawing can boost your creativity and confidence.
“For most participants, one of the frequent effects is a new self-perception as a creative and artistic person. Whether you feel you have little talent and doubt you could ever learn; or you enjoy drawing but have not been able to get beyond a child-like level, these workshops will show you how to gain and master drawing skills. If you are already drawing as a professional artist it will give you a greater confidence in your ability and deepen your artistic perception.
Once learned, drawing can be used to record what you see either in reality or in your mind’s eye, in a manner not totally unlike the way we can record our thoughts and ideas in words. ” (JANET RAE-DUPREE)
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
— Albert Einstein
I’M of two minds. As a matter of fact, so are you. And until recently, corporate America wasn’t doing much to take advantage of one of them. But now that we’re hip-deep in what has been called both the “Creative Economy” and the “Conceptual Age,” no one can afford to ignore the artist within: the right hemisphere of the brain.
Although popularized in the 1980s by the artist Betty Edwards in her book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” the right-brain-left-brain dichotomy originated with the research of the American biologist Roger W. Sperry in the 1960s. Through studying “split brain” animals and human patients, whose brain hemispheres had been disconnected (in humans, this was done to prevent severe epileptic seizures), he found that each side of the brain plays its own role in cognition. The left side, home of the human language center, is the outspoken logical, linear half of the equation. The right side, home to spatial perception and nonverbal concepts, is the nonlinear, high-concept source of the imagination and of pleasure.
The two function cheek-by-jowl, constantly sending signals back and forth through a bundle of 200 million to 300 million nerve fibers to help balance learning, analysis and communication throughout the brain.
But now that computers can emulate many of the sequential skills of the brain’s left hemisphere — the part that sees the individual trees in a forest — the author Daniel Pink argues that it’s time for our imaginative right brain, which sees the entire forest all at once, to take center stage.
“These abilities have always been part of what it means to be human,” notes Mr. Pink, who synthesized his ideas about the new role of right-brain thinking in his 2005 book “A Whole New Mind.” “It’s just that after a few generations in the Information Age, many of our high-concept, high-touch muscles have atrophied. The challenge is to work them back into shape.”
Why bother? Because much of the left-brain-centric work that the Information Age workers of America once did — computer programming, financial accounting, routing calls — is now done more cheaply in Asia or more efficiently by computers. If it can be outsourced or automated, it probably has been.
Now the master of fine arts, or M.F.A., Mr. Pink says, “is the new M.B.A.”
He’s not the only one saying it. When General Motors hired Robert A. Lutz in 2001 to whip its product development into shape, he told The New York Times about his new approach. “It’s more right brain. It’s more creative,” he said.
“I see us as being in the art business,” he said, “art, entertainment and mobile sculpture, which, coincidentally, also happens to provide transportation.”
When a car company like G.M. is in the art business, every company in any other industry is, too.
So it makes sense that business executives are turning to the original pop culture icon of right-brain thinking, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” for guidance into their right minds. Ms. Edwards retired in 1998, but her son, Brian Bomeisler, teaches scores of corporate and public workshops each year.
The list of companies Mr. Bomeisler has worked with is a Who’s Who of the Fortune 500. “That corny phrase ‘thinking outside the box,’ that’s what I do for corporations,” he says. “In teaching them how to draw, I’m teaching them an entirely new way to see. They unbox their minds and absorb what’s really there, with all of the complexity and beauty. One of the common phrases that students use afterward is that the world appears to be so much richer.”
During a two-day workshop with Halliburton Energy Services, Mr. Bomeisler watched as a team’s drawings slowly revealed an obvious solution to a longstanding problem. Team members realized from drawing that they had been enjoying their special status as a task force and had become so fascinated with the problem before them that they were in no hurry to solve it. This was resolved after management set a strict deadline and promised the group equally intriguing problems in the future.
By JANET RAE-DUPREE
Published: April 6, 2008
Other creative people have deliberately employed techniques to activate the right brain for problem solving, writing ideas, and other creative solutions. Any sort of dissociation, disconnecting from the everyday world gets you there. For example, Edison is purported to have used the hypnogogic state to stimulate creativity. The hypnogogic state is that state just prior to falling asleep. He activated this state for creative problem solving by placing himself in his easy chair holding metal bearings in his hand, which was positioned over a metal bowl. Then as he relaxed into that state between sleeping and waking, called the hypnogogic state, if he fell asleep, his hand would release the metal balls, which would then wake him as they fell into the bowl. This is an example of the use of the dissociated state, which is a hallmark of the “right brain” and has been used by various means by many creative people. Most don’t understand that is what they are doing. There are many ways to activate this part of the mind. For most people repetitive activities, special music, or just day dreaming will do the job. It’s achieving a dissociative state that quiets the left brain and activates the right brain. I knew a General officer who, after getting briefed on a vexing question, would state, “that is one for jogging.” By that he meant that he would bring the question to mind while jogging. Jogging or running entails repetitive action and may also include some hypoxia known as the “runner’s high” and brings on this dissociative state.
This is actually what is going on when people say they “will sleep on it” before coming to a decision. As early as the ancient Greeks, dreams were elevated to forecast the future and provide specific guidance to the dreamer. A premium was placed on those who seemed to be able to accurately interpret the dream. When they needed healing, the ancient Greeks visited temples of Asklepios, the Greek god of healing, where priests advised them how to incubate a healing dream. Dream researchers and modern healers have resurrected and updated this ancient practice4 and detail a step-by-step process on how to incubate a dream. To incubate a dream means to have a dream that is focused on solving a specific problem or question. For the transpersonal therapist the dream is “the royal road to the unconscious” and the unconscious holds virtually all the clues to unraveling any problem in physical reality. There is an infinite wealth of information and guidance in the unconscious, which can be coaxed to conscious awareness for the personality’s benefit. The dream is a prime method to do this. Therefore, it is not unusual to hear of a famous writer, artist or scientist, anyone engaged in a creative process, who uses either the dream state or the transition into and out of sleep (the hypnogogic and hypnopompic states, respectively) to get specific answers, solve creative problems and get inspiration.
When someone says that they are “right brained,” they are referring to the hemispheric dominance of their brain. Each side of the brain is responsible for different characteristics, and depending on the side of the brain that you use the most, you could exhibit natural characteristics. Understanding the benefits of using the right brain can give you a winning edge when it comes to personal relationships, your professional life and general success in your life. Use your strengths to get ahead and allow your right brain dominance to flourish.
When a person thinks with his right brain, verbal processing and reading comprehension come easily. This is because with a right hemispheric dominance, a person can readily convert words into pictures and ideas in his mind. When reading a book, a right-brained individual has no problem grasping the concepts and imagining the storyline, because it is open to interpretation. Subjects with hard and fast rules, like mathematics, can be a challenge, because right-brained person often need to see and read a concept visually before understanding it.
Right-brain types are typically more creative than the more logical left-brain types. Middle Tennessee State University notes that this could be the result of the way a person who uses the right brain thinks. Right-brains enjoy abstract ideas over concrete evidences, which make creation through art, music and writing easier.
A right-brained person is more likely to grasp concepts in philosophy and religion, explains the Australian Herald-Sun. A left-brained person prefers to see the facts, and discern her own conclusions from those facts. If a person uses her right brain, she grasps fluid concepts that may rely on faith rather than facts more easily. This can be beneficial in understanding philosophical concepts as they are not always backed by facts.
Because facts are not always important to those who think with their right brain, they may use intuition more readily for decision-making. Right-brained people are highly in tune with intuition, since they don’t feel that evidence is always the most important and effective way to make a choice. Rather than using rules and schedules, the right-brained person goes with feelings and emotions and chooses accordingly, according to Scholastic.com. If you think with your right brain, this makes you more in tune with your emotions, as well as the emotions of those around you.
Krishnamurti: “So where does silence begin? Does it begin when thought ends? Have you ever tried to end thought?”
Questioner: “How do you do it?”
Krishnamurti: “I don’t know, but have you ever tried it? First of all, who is the entity who is trying to stop thought?”
Questioner: “The thinker.”
Krishnamurti: “It’s another thought, isn’t it? Thought is trying to stop itself, so there is a battle between the thinker and the thought…. Thought says, ‘I must stop thinking because then I shall experience a marvellous state.’… One thought is trying to suppress another thought, so there is conflict. When I see this as a fact, see it totally, understand it completely, have an insight into it . . . then the mind is quiet. This comes about naturally and easily when the mind is quiet to watch, to look, to see.”
J. Krishnamurti: You Are the World, 1972